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Corrigall Farm Museum: Lost Treasures of #Orkney

The entrance to Corrigall Farm Museum with the ivy covered doorway

Orcadians and past visitors to Orkney will remember with great fondness visits to Corrigall Farm Museum in Harray.

This wonderful community asset, owned and managed by Orkney Islands Council, of our islands’ heritage has been closed for some time “due to pressure on resources.”

It is a fantastic example of a traditional longhouse from the 1700s. Animals would have lived in one end and the family in the other. In the 1800s the animals were moved into buildings outside the dwelling house.

The byre and outbuildings

The outbuildings, especially the barn with its grain kiln, are particularly well preserved.

Now whilst visitors and islanders can still visit Kirbuster Farm Museum in the summer months, also owned by OIC, it is saddening that Corrigall with its outbuildings and importance to our heritage, continues to remain closed. Indeed it may never open again and the collections either dispersed or put into storage.

The barn hopefully still contains an example of a Bikko – a straw dog given to the last farm to bring in the harvest.

Perhaps another way could be found to keep this wonderful resource for our schools and young people open? A way in which the central role Orkney’s farmers have always had in the life of these islands and its culture can be appreciated.

Digital records are fine to a point but can never replace the experience of seeing, holding and smelling our islands’ heritage. Once it is gone, a part of us is gone too.

Fiona Grahame

3 replies »

  1. So – tourism is all-important – including massive liners wrecking the place?
    A more gentle form of tourism is very important to the economy of Orkney. Yet – this Museum has been closed, including during this last summer season. Notice in my piece I mention that we took our visitors there because they are famers, who were vey interested to see the difference in farming history here and in Suffolk.

    Once again – what is OIC thinking of?

    While I’m here, another mention of Corrigal…


    An awareness of our past, matters – particularly our recent past, which can get swept away before we’re aware that that is happening.

  2. This museum is hugely important and significant for Orkney residents as well as tourists.
    The council are always telling us how much income cruise ships generate for Orkney, so some of that can be used to finance getting necessary repairs done and open up the museum again. Orkney is extremely profitable for cruise ship companies so an increase in what they pay to come here is very affordable for them and could really enhance the quality of the tourism experience here by providing the infrastructure needed (toilets!) and preserving tourist attractions.
    Or is this yet another example of the council ignoring and disparaging our agricultural past as much as they fail to support our agricultural future?

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